Make a Reservation to Success

Make a Reservation to Success

By Christine Chavez, Santa Fe Water Conservation Manager

We are thrilled to announce that Santa Fe has been named a Sustainable City of 2020 by Green Building Media, Inc. for leading by example and making strides in working toward solving environment challenges. The annual award focuses on the City’s restaurant water conservation leadership efforts, which I have written about before.

Did you know Santa Fe restaurants use more than 635 million gallons of water each year. A single leak can waste 3,400 gallons of water annually if left undetected.

That’s a lot of water. The good news is the 31 participating restaurants in our pilot project collectively saved 450,000 gallons a year and identified over 1.5 million gallons of water that could be saved if recommended actions were taken.

Now we are taking this project to the next level. The City is currently recruiting 100 restaurants. Participants will receive a free commercial water audit valued between $500-$1,000 to determine current level of water use efficiency and identify ways to cut down on water use, along with free onsite equipment such as aerators and pre-rinse spray valves.

We are able to expand the program to reach more restaurants because of a new partnership with the Santa Fe Community College. Funded by a National Science Foundation Grant, we have developed new workforce curriculum and trainings to increase the number of auditors not only for restaurants, but also for hotels and light commercial properties. This is a trifecta partnership that truly shows what collaboration with private, public and educational experts can do not only for our water saving efforts, but also expanding workforce opportunities in the area of sustainability.

If we can reduce restaurant water use by 20 percent, we will save more than 120 million gallons of water in the first year alone. Not only that, we know restaurants have narrow profit margins and a 20 percent reduction in water can result into an additional 1 percent profit for the restaurant.

We can all help by asking for a glass of water only when we really need it and gently reminding restaurants not to serve water unless upon request and that they can contact us to get the required signage.

Spread the word to your favorite restaurant and have them contact the Green Chamber of Commerce at